Many home renovations will not only improve the quality of your life, but also will increase your home’s resale value—many renovations, but not all. Before you dip into your bank account to shell out your hard-earned cash to renovate your home, research your remodel plans, because there are some home improvement mistakes that will actually diminish the value of your home. Here are five renovations to avoid (or at least consider very carefully) according to real estate and home improvement experts.
Carpet. To home buyers carpet can be snug and cozy, but only if it is brand-new and immaculately clean. For other buyers carpet can be just a big turn-off. Investopedia.com says “if carpet is the primary flooring throughout—it can actually lower the value of your home.” Nerdwallet.com says carpet can decrease the value of your home by as much as $4,000. Investopedia.com adds that “in most cases, it's better to remove the old carpet and then restore (or install) wood floors. Depending on where you live, that's what most buyers prefer—and even expect.” According to the National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, the number one best return on investment for an interior home project comes from refinishing hardwood floors at 147%, and the number two best return comes from installing new hardwood flooring at 118%.
Wallpaper. This is one of those decorating trends that is either on its way out or is making a big comeback, depending on who you talk to at any given time. But regardless of the trends, there will probably be only a miniscule chance that potential buyers will love the wallpaper patterns and colors that you love. Instead they will look at the time-consuming and messy job of scraping the stuff off the walls as a major pain in the neck and a drain on their wallets.
Bold Personal Design Choices. In the same ballpark as wallpaper are all the other highly individualistic decorating choices. We all believe we have the corner on what is a good look for our homes. It’s just that not everyone has the same tastes. “As a result,” Lifehacker.com points out, “too-bold paint colors, funky light fixtures, and anything else that’s overly personal will actually decrease your home’s objective value.” Giving your rooms a fresh coat of paint can be a cost-effective option to dress up your home, but many buyers are turned off by dark or bright or bold colors. If you have an eye on resale value, choose neutral colors.
“So does that mean you can’t do anything to personalize your home?” asks homebay.com.
“Of course not! It just means it would be wise of you to take a less final approach. Stick to neutral colors and opt for wall decals or temporary wallpaper instead of more permanent options. If you do decide to go with a bold look, that’s fine too. Just be prepared to do some painting or wallpaper tear down before you list your home for sale.”
Space Conversion. Converting space like your turning your garage into an extra bedroom or family room can seem like a good solution to adjust your home to your lifestyle, but beware. “The general rule of thumb in home renovations versus the value of your house is that removing things is always bad,” warns Lifehacker.com. “When you convert your garage into a mother-in-law suite, for example, you’re not just gaining more square footage—you’re also losing a valuable aspect of the home that buyers want. Worse, the buyers may not care as much about the extra room, since they’re coming in fresh. The impact is brutal—it’s estimated a garage conversion can reduce your home’s value by as much as 25%.” And even worse, garage conversions are pricey. According to the home services directory and information company, Angi, homeowners typically spend between $6,000 and $26,000 to convert a garage into a livable space.
The warning about converting home spaces also holds true also for expanding a master suite by combining two bedrooms into one larger bedroom or by taking over closet space. Most buyers are looking for multiple bedrooms and ample storage space. A shortage of either can be a deal-breaker.
Pool or Hot Tub. Depending on where you live a pool can drag down the value of your home. In Florida a pool may be considered a necessity, but in Nebraska, a pool may just look like a hole in the ground that only adds to overhead costs and household chores for something they really will not use much and do not want. Even in warm climates, where all comparable houses have one, a pool may only add about 10% to the value of your home but cost you a bundle. The average cost of installing an in-ground pool is $35,000 and a high-end pool can cost $60,000 or more, according to Forbes magazine.
When it comes to hot tubs, buyers in general break down into two camps: hot tub lovers and hot tub haters. For haters a hot tub is just like a pool, something that only adds to expenses and household work. Even hot tub lovers may not like your old hot tub and if they really want one, they can buy it on their own. Either way, regardless of how much you enjoy soaking in a hot tub, they are a poor investment.
If you are planning on selling your home somewhere down the line taking on home renovations that won't increase your house's resale value (or even worse decrease your home’s selling price) can be a sizable waste of money and time. Do your research before diving into any home remodeling. But life isn’t just about money; quality of life is also an important factor. Home expert Bailey Carson, at Angi observed in Southern Living article, “If you're a few years away from selling and the change will help you enjoy your home for the rest of your time there—without hurting its value—then go for it.”